The “I” can exist only on the surface because it needs “thou,” the wind of the “thou,” to exist. When you go deeper into yourself the winds are no longer there, “thous” are no longer there. How can there be “I”? I and thou exist in a pair, they are never divorced. Yes, you will find aloneness, but not I-ness. And aloneness is beautiful. Let me remind you again, the word alone means all one. That’s how it is constructed – all one. On the surface you are separate from all. In fact, on the surface you are lonely because you are separate from the all. In the depth, when you have disappeared, there is no distinction between you and all. All is one; you are no longer, aloneness is.
You say, “The deeper I fall into myself, the more alone I feel.” You must be imagining that you are falling deeper into yourself. The mind can go on playing games. It can play the game of being alone, it can play the game of being in prayer, it can play the game of being in meditation, but if “I” remains then you can be certain it is a game, nothing real has happened. That’s why again the desire for the other will arise.
The “I” cannot exist alone. It needs the other to support it, to feed it, to nourish it. It will bring you back to the other. That’s why when you are lonely you start thinking of your beloved, of your friend, of your mother, father, this and that, a thousand and one things. You create imaginary “thous.” If a man is put in isolation for more than three weeks he starts talking to himself. He creates the whole dialogue. He himself is divided in two – I and thou. He becomes two so the game can be played. “I” cannot exist separate from “thou.”
“The deeper I fall into myself, the more alone I feel.”
No, you must be feeling lonely. Never use these two words as synonymous. Loneliness is negative, aloneness is positive. Loneliness simply means you are missing the other. The other is absent, there is a gap in you. Aloneness means you are present, there is no gap in you. You are full of presence, you are utterly there. Loneliness is the absence of the other, aloneness is the presence of your eternal being.
You say: “There is only nothingness.” No, if there is only nothingness then there is no problem. If there is only nothingness and nobody to know it, nobody to feel it, then there is no problem. Then from where comes the doubt? How can the doubter arise? No, you are there. That nothingness is bogus because you are there. How can it be nothingness? It is just your idea.
This used to happen in my family when I was a child. I was so lazy – I am still – I was so lazy, utterly lazy, that my family lost all hope with me. By and by they started forgetting about me, because I would never do anything. I would sit in the corner and just sit, either with closed eyes or with open eyes, but I was so absent to them that by and by they became oblivious to me.
Sometimes it would happen that my mother would need something from the market, vegetables or something, and I would be sitting in front of her and she would say, “Nobody seems to be present here.” She was just sitting in front of me and talking to me: “Nobody seems to be here. I want somebody to go and fetch vegetables from the market.” And I was sitting in front of her and she said, “Nobody is here.”